Putting up the Pakistani team for Third England Test made difficult; Salman Butt in turbulent waters
It seems as if more issues and problems are yet to reach the young Pakistani captain Salman Butt. The inexperienced skipper already has a lot at hand because of the ongoing political wrangling within the Pakistan Cricket Board regarding time selection and having the right kind of experience for a test side. The Pakistani cricket team has faced embarrassing defeats from the English right after its memorial victory over the mighty Australians at Leeds.
The Pakistani camp had suffered a blow after losing pace man Umar Gul, as he was ruled out of the Pakistan-England series due to a hamstring injury that occurred to him in Birmingham. One the other hand, out-of-form wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal was replaced by young and promising Zulqarnian Haider. Haider was the highest scorer for Pakistan in the second test, where he played impressively for his 88 runs. He also has been ruled out for the remaining matches of the test series, due to a fractured finger. Haider’s finger received the initial blow during a training session before the start of second test and was aggravated when Stuart Broad hurled the ball at him in his follow through at Edgbaston. This unnecessary throw had cost the Englishman 50 per cent of his match fee.
Haider attended the team’s training camp at the Oval on Monday but did not participate in any drills. His injury means that for the second time this year Akmal will return to the test side just one match after being axed, having first been dropped for the Hobart Test against Australia but reinstated in the very next test at Lords. Since, Pakistan has not requested any other replacements; Akmal will surely be confirming his comeback.
Despite this, Butt’s concerns are still on the rise since Akmal seems to be in disastrous form as he has dropped several chances during previous matches. His is also out-of-form with the bat in the longer version of the game. Butt is already leading his team with clear displays of inexperience, but this might be the last thing he would have wanted to happen. Butt has still not made any official statements regarding the problems being faced by him.
Losing Gul would not be that bad in the presence of pace men Mohammad Aamir and Mohammad Asif. Asif, who reached yet another 5 wicket haul in the second test match, promises a good bowling combination with spinners such as Saeed Ajmal and Danish Kaneria. It is yet to be seen that how the Pakistani playing eleven turns out for the third test against England but Pakistan should strongly hope that veteran right-handed batsman Mohammad Yusuf is given a chance in this upcoming match because it is not the bowling that should be a concern for Butt, but the Pakistani batting that had collapsed in the first innings of the second test for just 72 runs.
Butt must be hoping for Shoaib Malik to pair up with Yusuf. Both these senior batsman should give some support to their young captain since the whole team is really depending on its batting line to counter English bowling attack. On the other hand, the bowling attack of Pakistan is strong enough to get rid of English batsmen within a day’s play. Earlier, it had been responsible for dismantling the Australian batting line that had ultimately led to leveling of the Pakistan-Australia series. Hopes are also pinned on the bowlers to bulk wickets for Pakistan in the third test although the series already belongs to the English with their 2-0 lead .Winning the last test would at the least ensure the dignity of Pakistani test cricket at the international arena.